By: Krystle Crossman
Computer science is a booming field. There are more jobs than ever because of the explosion of technology over the last few decades. Coding is one of the most popular jobs. This is where people write code for computer software, websites, and applications for phones. One of the biggest problems with the coding field is that women who choose to work as a coder are much less respected then men. A recent study was published in LiveScience showed that women produced better work that was more desirable on a coding platform called GitHub than work produced by men. However once it was revealed that the coding was done by a woman, their work was not as accepted.
A survey that was conducted in 2013 showed that only 10% of open-source coders were female. A team from California Polytechnic State University combed through data of 4 million users on the open-source coding site GitHub to see if they could find a reason as to why there were so few women in the open-source market. Open-source is when anyone can go in and modified the content like Wikipedia. They found that out of those 4 million, one-third had specified their gender. In GitHub the coders will propose a change to the open-source material. It is either accepted or rejected by the company that owns the material. The researchers found that men had over 3 million requests accepted while women only had 140,000.
One of the situations that the researchers came across was the amount of change that women would request. Women would request changes that were more in-depth and required more lines of code to be re-written. This often caused them to be rejected because of the extensive work that it would take to complete the proposal. When it was not shown whether the coder was male or female, 79% of the female population’s requests were accepted while men hovered around 75%. When the genders were indicated, that number changed.
When it was identified that a male was making a request the approval rate stayed constant. When it was identified that a female was behind the proposal the approval percentage dropped to 62%. During surveys that did not indicate the gender, women surpassed the men by quite a bit. Their work was highly favored over the men. This was only when the gender was not known however. Researchers stated that it is still not completely clear as to whether there truly is a gender-specific bias when it comes to the numbers of approved requests, but the research findings certainly indicated it.